Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.


These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 


Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don’t know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 


And it’s even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 


But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!


Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don’t have all the facts. 


The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).


The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.


We need to get the other person’s point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.


Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn’t open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 


The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Icing That Migraine

So a lot of people I know get excruciating migraines in the Washington, D.C. area. 


I don’t know the statistical incident rate here for migraines, but anecdotally it seems significantly higher.


Is it the weather patterns, pollution, toxic chemicals or something else in this geographic area?


While medicine seems to be critical in actually getting rid of the migraine, I do notice that sustained use of ice packs or freezing water on the head also seems to help. 


Cold generally constricts the blood vessels, so I am not sure why this provides migraine relief.


Note: I am not giving medical advise or guidance to anyone, but just sharing my experiences. 


I would be interested to see a medical study done on treating migraines with freezing cold–from my experience, I think it definitely helps.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Some People Cope With Stress

Thought this was incredible. 


Someone opened up a “Rage Room” in Maryland. 


I know the atmosphere in D.C. is polarized and sort of toxic lately, and there is lot’s of identity politics, obstruction, and even people hating on each other, but this really shows how things have degenerated.


And let’s face it, it’s not just the politics that people are stressed out about–how about stress from family, work, and bills.  We’re on 24/7 these days and a lot of stress can build up in people that way. 


But now, people can actually pay money to go to into a room, wrap themselves in safety clothing, and spend their time smashing things. 


Almost like when they put crazy people in a padded room in a straight jacket and let them hit their heads against the wall for a while. 


In the Rage Room:


You can break 10 glass items for just $25!


Or throw in a medium printer in the starter pack and it’s $35. 


You can even BYOB (Bring Your Own Breakables) and have at it for $15.


Group packages and even gift cards are available. 


Fun maybe, a little crazy for sure. 😉